The Giants and Panthers face off tonight at 8:30 ET on the NFL Network, which means Week 3 of the fantasy football season is set to begin.
Let’s highlight the latest injury updates, and there are some big ones, plus who you should start and sit from each roster.
The new season-long Thursday night schedule is already wreaking havoc in regards to injuries and the availability of players.
Last week WR Greg Jennings was a late scratch, sending fantasy owners scurrying to the waiver wire to pick up the likes of James Jones, who wound up doing absolutely nothing.
This week’s bombshell is Hakeem Nicks not making the flight to North Carolina. He is officially listed as out.
As expected, Giants RB Ahmed Bradshaw (neck/stinger) is also ruled out with the short week. Number three WR Domenik Hixon suffered a concussion in Week 2 and not surprisingly did not get clearance to play this week.
The other injury to the Giants offense is right tackle David Diehl, who suffered an MCL injury on Sunday. The good news is that Diehl avoided ACL damage, but he will also miss Thursday night, meaning New York will also be doing some offensive line shuffling.
On the Carolina side, Jonathan Stewart returned from his ankle injury in Week 2 and had 51 yards rushing, including a 17-yard TD run. But Stewart was held out of practice this week as coach Ron Rivera disclosed that Stewart is now also dealing with a toe injury possibly related to the original pre-season ankle issue.
That combination, along with the short week, will keep Stewart on the sidelines Thursday, and just hearing the word ‘toe’ mentioned makes you wonder about his availability for the next several weeks.
So who should you play off the Giants or Panthers Thursday night???
After passing for 510 yards last Sunday, you might want to keep Eli Manning in the lineup. Number one receiver Victor Cruz also obviously remains a top WR1 option.
Ramses Barden was already slated to be the Giants third receiver with Hixon out, and now he moves into a starting role with Nicks absence. In many leagues with Wednesday waiver deadlines, Barden may still be out there considering the Nicks news did not break until Wednesday night.
I consider Barden a good borderline starter this week. If you have a glaring need at WR this week go ahead and make the pick-up, but you could probably also do without him you have solid options with your current WR’s and FLEX.
If you picked up Andre Brown off the waiver wire, he will do most of the heavy lifting Thursday and is a good RB2 option. Hopefully you didn’t burn a lot of your FAAB budget in the process – Bradshaw’s injury is not expected to be long-term and rookie David Wilson also remains in the picture.
I would not expect much out of Wilson this week though, as he is reportedly in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse, which is where rookies under Coughlin’s watch usually are this time of year. In the limited time he has been on the field (only six snaps in Week 2 despite the Bradshaw injury) there have been issues with fumbles and pass protection.
If you have Wilson on your roster, do not cut bait yet – unless you see something really good on the waiver wire. Coughlin rookies traditionally don’t see the field until November/December. Ahmed Bradshaw is among those who have gone through Coughlin’s probationary process.
Wilson’s estimated ETA into a meaningful backfield role isn’t really much different than what was projected in July/August.
Tight end Martellus Bennett is indeed worth a pick-up this week after participating in 83 of the 84 snaps against the Bucs, being targeted ten times, and scoring in each of the first two contests. If you missed out on the TEs on draft day, Martellus is at the very worst a TE2 or even low-end TE1.
Simple logic says DeAngelo Williams stock rises dramatically this week with Jon Stewart out. Not so fast.
With Stewart out in Week 1, DeAngelo proceeded to carry a grand total of six times for -1 yard. In Week 2, Williams went 14-69 and a touchdown as he, Stewart, and goal-line back Mike Tolbert all found the end zone.
Some people need a tag-team partner, and DeAngelo falls into that category.
If you drafted Brandon LaFell in the late rounds, you did well, as LaFell has gone 3-65/6-90 in his first two games. He is a solid WR2 at this point.
Steve Smith has gone over the 100-yard mark the first two weeks. He is listed probable with a knee but is expected to play. Roll with him unless you hear dramatic news during the pre-game.
Cam Newton remains a no-brainer play.